Deere & Co. To Sell Wind-Energy Unit For $900M

MOLINE, Ill. (AP) — Deere & Co. completed the $900 million sale of its wind-energy business to a subsidiary of power generator Exelon Corp.

The company said Friday it sold John Deere Renewables LLC to focus on its core farm-equipment business.

Exelon, which is renaming the business Exelon Wind, said it would add to earnings starting in 2012 and add to cash flow starting in 2013. It said the deal raised its capacity for generating power with zero greenhouse gas emissions to nearly 19,000 megawatts.

The 36 projects that Moline-based Deere started in eight states will produce enough power for 160,000 to 220,000 homes, according to Exelon.

Exelon paid $860 million with a provision for up to $40 million more when construction begins on some projects still in development. Deere and Exelon announced the deal in August.

Analysts have said Exelon and other power companies with cash in hand could get bargains buying power-generation assets like Deere's.

Deere once saw wind energy as a natural extension of its farm-equipment business because the arrays of turbines that generate the power are usually located in rural areas. Deere spent $1 billion over five years to finance and develop the business and buy equipment from India's Suzlon Energy.

Exelon, based in Chicago, is a major operator of nuclear power plants and has marketed wind energy in several states. It generates electricity for 5.4 million customers in Illinois and Pennsylvania and sells natural gas to about 500,000 customers in the Philadelphia area. The Deere-built business will be operated by its subsidiary Exelon Generation Co.

In afternoon trading, Deere shares rose $1.75, or 2.2 percent, to $82.38; Exelon shares gained 41 cents to $40.02.